Chiffy, a 4-year-old trained by Michael Salvaggio Jr and owned (and bred) by Norris Gelman, broke down in a particularly gruesome fashion Friday night at Penn. According to an eyewitness at the track, the gelding “snapped its back leg in the lane and went down in front of all the kids lined up to see the Budweiser Clydesdales. …the snap was audible and sounded like a gunshot…the horse tried to get up, but went right back down and just died from the trauma. They didn’t have to bother putting it down.” In that same race, Rick’s Cafe, another 4-year-old gelding, “collapsed in mid stretch and did not recover.” Horseracing – good, clean family fun.
Yesterday, 4-year-old Rock and Roll Star snapped a leg while breezing at Finger Lakes and was killed. This is trainer Ralph D’Alessandro’s second (Just Mizzy) Finger Lakes death in the past month. Earlier in the week at Monticello, a Standardbred named Dalglish “collapsed and died [of a] suspected cardio vascular event” after crossing the finish line. Two more dead animals. Please stop wagering on horseraces.
3-year-old Ol’ Bob was killed yesterday running in the 4th race at Louisiana Downs. In sum, Ol’ Bob ran six races, all for trainer C. Blaine Williams and owner Rio Mio Ranch.
Also yesterday, 2-year-old Summer Sanctuary broke down in Delaware Park’s 4th race and is presumed dead. For this equine child – roughly the equivalent of a pre-pubescent human – yesterday’s race was her second in 15 days. The notes say that Summer Sanctuary “was fractious and difficult to load.” Perhaps, Gilberto Santiago (jockey for both races) and Harry Painter (trainer and breeder), this poor creature was trying to communicate something. Apparently, deaf ears.
Yesterday, a 2-year-old unraced colt named Fran’s Kid snapped a leg “breezing” at Belmont and was euthanized on-track. Fortunately, the Gaming Commission reports, he was insured. Racing’s depravity never ceases to amaze. For trainer Leo O’Brien, this makes eight dead athletes since 2010.
On Saturday, 5-year-old Point Taken died of septic arthrotis at Belmont. A short, mean life entirely consumed by earning for sad men. This is horseracing.
In Monday’s Paulick Report, apologist Ray Paulick relays Malcolm Gladwell’s contention that performance-enhancing drugs and reconstructive surgeries for athletes should be seen in the same light. Gladwell, according to Paulick, “thinks human athletes should be permitted to use any type of drug they wish, provided it is FDA approved and is disclosed by the athlete.” But being a horseracing publication, Paulick ends with this:
“The late Charles Harris, a New York-based horse owner who for years fought for clean sport, once suggested the same thing as Gladwell, that all drugs should be permitted in racing, so long as they are disclosed. At least that would level the playing field, he said.
As athletics, horse racing and veterinary and genetic science move forward, will Gladwell be proven right? Will that bright moral line separating doping from science or surgery become less defined?”
While Gladwell’s thesis has merit, to even suggest that that same thinking could be applied to racing – as Paulick does by referencing Harris – is repellent. Mr. Paulick, ultimately what separates horseracing from every true sport on the planet is informed consent: Professional human athletes are the autonomous final arbiters on what goes into their bodies; professional racehorses are – forgive the emotionally charged word, but it is what it is – common slaves, with zero control over their lives.
Furthermore, when a juiced ballplayer breaks down, he goes on the disabled list, rehabs, and returns to his trade; when a drugged/doped racehorse breaks down, he dies. So you see, Mr. Paulick, we’re not even remotely in the same neighborhood.